This is an old thread I just came across. I just want to add the following to those like me who may be reading this for background information: If the agent is not skilled enough at their trade to take the time to ensure that he/she knows (a) what the buyer's budget is; and (b) what the buyer's 'must have' requirements vs. their 'would-be-nice-to-have' requirements are, then they are not worth their high school prom picture on their business card.
It is a two-way relationship, yes, and in order for it to succeed, both parties have to do their jobs. The buyer has to know what they want, and, failing that, through lack of insight of the market, or being a property virgin, etc. then the agent must be able to effectively collect the data they need to execute their side of the arrangement and steer the buyer through the process to a mutually beneficial conclusion.
In the Westchester market, I'm still meeting agents that are stuck in the pre-Lehman Brothers collapse mentality, ie. they're happy to show a house or two, but when its evident that it may not be a quick sell, then it's onto their mailing list you go and you'll be lucky to hear from them again. Also, the boom of the last several years has brought in what I would consider to be less than highly qualified associates to the fray because of the profit potential. I mean really, what does the county require over 6000 real estate 'professionals' for?
So, bottom line, it's a much more competitive market out their right now, and if you think you've communicated your requirements correctly, move on to a new agent. Better yet, check their credentials beforehand and choose wisely going in. How long have they been in business? Are they doing this full-time? Do they have all of the appropriate licenses/certifications? If they don't get what you need at this stage, imagine what they are going to be like going forward to closing.
Last point: Exclusivity arrangements were a fool's bet before and are even more so now, stay away from them.